Don’t freak out, okay?
I know that terms like, “Spiritual Warfare” and “Spiritual Strongholds” weird us out. It’s natural to think that these terms refer to only those cases where a person is bloodshot wild-eyed, spewing obscenities, speaking in an other-worldly voice, and terrorizing people like in horror movies we’ve seen.
But the enemy of our souls, Satan is a lot more sly than that. Those overt displays of his presence only end up showing his hand, which is the last thing he wants to do. One movie character captured it best when he expressed, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.”
Satan and his demons would rather deceive people in relative silence by shooting constant accusatory arrows against our hearts and our minds so that we feel so beat up emotionally that we barely have the capacity to ponder the truth of God’s word, which says the exact opposite of all the enemy claims.
2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age [a reference to Satan and his demons] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” If that’s his strategy in the lives of those who haven’t trusted in Christ, then his strategy in the life of those who HAVE trusted in Christ is to confuse, frustrate, and even steal the truth of God that has been deposited in their lives,and ultimately attempt to mar the image of God in our lives.
So, all that leads to the question:
How does the enemy construct a spiritual stronghold in our lives?
It often starts with a wound we experience, a hurt or disappointment that makes our heart fertile ground for seeds of lies to be planted. On this foundation, the enemy then begins to build brick by brick, a wall of lies, inaccurate ideas about the person of God, erroneous interpretations of Scripture, prideful thoughts, and distorted perceptions of how God sees us and feels about us when we sin.
For example, someone you trusted, who should have played a father-figure role in your life deeply betrayed your trust and hurt you). As a result, the enemy lied to you that no one could be trusted and you are on your own. You in turn then become fiercely independent, so much so that you have trust issues, which has then resulted in your struggling to trust God’s promises in your life!
See how that works?
When we buy into these lies and agree with the enemy, thereby ceding control, that area of our loves becomes a stronghold, which the enemy vigorously defends and retains control of.
Ridding yourself of these strongholds not only requires great intentionality, but also an understanding of its root cause and how it got constructed in the first place, and how God’s word empowers you to break free from it. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
5 SOURCES OF STRONGHOLD YOU MAY NOT HAVE CONSIDERED
UNCONFESSED OR UNREPENTANT SIN IN YOUR LIFE: The Biblical fact is this, there is no sin in your life that is so great that the cross of Jesus isn’t greater than and that hasn’t already paid for. However, God will not heal that which you will not own up to. The spiritual enemy of your soul thrives on secrecy and will establish a stronghold in unexposed sin in your life.
OCCULT ACTIVITY you’ve engaged in, some of which you may still be participating in. Whether it’s Wicca, Fortune Telling, Black or White Magic, Spiritism, or conjuring spirits, or even yoga (depending on who your focus is on during meditations). It’s like placing a “vacancy” sign on your life for evil spirits. Have you knowingly or unknowingly dabbled in any occult-like practices in your past? That may be where you issues stem from.
LIES YOU HAVE BELIEVED: These include lies about God, about yourself, and lies about how God sees you. Lies that the enemy has been playing over and over in your mind for years, which, in your pain, you’ve unfortunately bought into. What lies have you believed?
UNFORGIVENESS: If you are still nursing bitterness against someone/people, the enemy will take advantage of that to keep you in bondage. The people who wounded you may not deserve to be forgiven, but we forgive because Jesus Christ forgave us for a an even greater sin against God. Secondly, we forgive because it sets us free from bondage produced by bitterness.
HEREDITARY or in your LINEAGE: You may have picked up on the fact that certain unhealthy behavioral and thought patterns present in your life was also present in your father’s (or mother's) life, and his father, and so on. Sometimes, unhealthy, even ungodly family traditions and family patterns is passed down from generation to generation to generation until someone stands up and say, IN JESUS NAME, NO MORE!
The defining mark of a stronghold is ITS RECURRING PATTERN. It literally has a “strong hold” on you so that you find it extremely difficult to break free from it, so you keep coming back to it (that’s your first indication that it’s a stronghold).
So here are some legit question to ask yourself to help you get to the root of your strongholds.
What is a constant battleground in my life
What unhealthy habit or unhealthy thought pattern has a stronghold on you?
What do I constantly struggle with?
The troublesome aspect of a stronghold is that it may not even be a bad thing that you’re caught up in. Your stronghold can be good things, like food, religion, a fierce-protectiveness (but because it is rooted in demon-inspired-lie that stemmed from a wound), it is toxic in your life.
So this week, your assignment is to prayerfully connect the pieces.
For now, here is something important you need to keep in mind. At the root of many of the listed vices above is a desire to want to prove our worth and our value ,or in many cases, not feeling like we’re worthy of love, affirmation, or success.
So hear me closely on this because this was one of the key Biblical insights that broke some significant strongholds in MY life. The issue of your value is not determined by whether people like you or don’t, nor is it determined by your performance.
The issue of your value and your worth has already been settled at the cross of Jesus Christ.
On the cross of Calvary, God saw every failure, every shortcoming, and every sin you would ever commit, and He still chose to lay His life down for you.Colossians 2:14says, “He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness (your record of charges), which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. You don’t need to perform to win God’s approval, through faith in Christ, you already have it IN CHRIST!!
The ability to forgive those who have wounded you, to reject the lies the enemy has planted in your heart, to renounce the vows you have made to shield your heart from God, and to demolish the strongholds in your life IS ROOTED IN YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND EMBRACING OF THAT TRUTH IN COLOSSIANS 2:14, that on the cross, you are already dearly love, highly valued by the Father and worth dying for!
For whom the Son has set free, is truly free indeed! May God bless you and empower you to live freely!
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Husband. Dad. Pastor. Nigerian American. Storyteller. Aspiring Prayer Warrior. Steak Lover. Follower of Jesus Christ reminding you that God the Father still loves you.